The Road Safety Authority has urged parents to ensure their children are properly restrained if they are being driven to school.

A nationwide survey by the RSA last year found that one-in-ten children travelling in the back seat was not using proper restraints.

The figures for children in the front seat were a little a better with 93% properly belted up.

Liz O'Donnell, Chairperson of Road Safety Authority, said: "A child cannot be responsible for their own safety.

"It's up to us as responsible adults to do the right thing to ensure their safety.

"Every child travelling in a car must use a child car seat or wear a seatbelt. I am urging parents to ensure that children are safely and securely restrained, even on the shortest trip."

Assistant Commissioner David Sheahan, of An Garda Síochána's National Roads Policing Unit, said: "The non-wearing of seatbelts by children under 17 is not only against the law but is extremely dangerous.

"We continue to see fatalities where a vehicle occupant was not wearing a seatbelt and therefore had no protection in a collision.

"By law, all children under 150cms in height or 36kgs in weight must use a child restraint system (CRS) suitable for their height and weight while travelling in a car.

"Drivers have a legal responsibility to ensure that all passengers under 17 are appropriately restrained in the vehicle.

"The penalty for drivers who permit a child to travel in a vehicle without being properly restrained is three penalty points and €60 fixed charge."

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As well as the 'Seatbelt Safety' message, the RSA is reminding parents to ensure their child is visible when walking or cycling on the roads, or when waiting for the school bus.

For the eighth year running, the RSA and ESB Networks will distribute free high-visibility vests to every child starting school in September.

To date, this partnership has provided 880,000 children throughout the country with high visibility vests.

Schools can register online for the RSA's 'Back to School' road safety packs which will be sent to primary schools nationwide over the coming months.